In the Black Fantastic: Hew Locke

Portrait of Hew Locke
Danny Cozens

‘There are very few people of colour as statues in this country, or in Europe. So that’s where I’m coming from. I’m making the decisions, and I’m deciding to address that’.

Born in Edinburgh Hew Locke is a contemporary artist and sculptor who spent his formative years in Guyana before returning to the UK where he is now based in Brixton, South London.

Statues are one of a number recurring themes in Locke’s work, and several of his statue pieces feature within the Hayward Gallery exhibition, In the Black Fantastic. In this video the artist talks about the initial inspiration behind them, and how these works have evolved to take on a more mythical significance.

Locke goes on to discuss his work ‘How Do You Want Me?’ (2007) – a series of eleven life-size photographs which also feature within In the Black Fantastic – and their relation to the art world, to ideas of state and ceremony, and to power.

Installation view of Hew Locke works, In the Black Fantastic at Hayward Gallery
Rob Harris

'‘How Do You Want Me?’ refers to the voracious desire of the art world for the latest exotic thing. It was my way of saying, well how do you want me? I can be your exotic turn. I made it sound jokey, but it was quite a serious thing.'


Hew Locke
Installation view of Hew Locke works, In the Black Fantastic at Hayward Gallery, 2022.Copyright the artist_ Photo_ Zeinab Batchelor, Courtesy of the Hayward Gallery
In the Black Fantastic

Curated by Ekow Eshun, this exhibition, featuring the work of 11 contemporary artists from the African diaspora, is at Hayward Gallery at the Southbank Centre until 18 September.